The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delivered a sweeping rejection of Republican efforts to challenge the 2020 election, denying hearings for cases including a dispute over Pennsylvania’s mail-in deadline and one of the more outlandish “Kracken” cases brought by attorney Sidney Powell and leaving only a handful of challenges still waiting to be heard by the court.
The Supreme Court had been weighing a challenge to Pennsylvania allowing mail-in ballots to be counted if they arrive after Election Day, which led to those ballots being segregated and treated differently during the presidential election—though there were not enough late-arriving ballots to have affected the outcome.
The court ultimately declined to review the case Monday, with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissenting.
The court also rejected Powell’s “Kracken” case alleging widespread fraud in Michigan, after the far-right attorney and her allies had touted the Supreme Court considering the case as a signal that her post-election lawsuits still had a chance of success.
The court had already declined to hear many of the lawsuits denied Monday on an expedited basis before Inauguration Day, which killed the cases’ chances of having any impact on the election outcome.
“The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling,” Thomas wrote in his dissent on the Pennsylvania mail-in voting deadline case. “By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence. Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us.”
“Time and time again, Trump and his enablers took Pennsylvania to court in an attempt to throw out legal votes,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro wrote on Twitter Monday. “Let these Supreme Court actions today finalize the truth: Pennsylvania’s elections were free, fair and legal. End of story.”
The Supreme Court cases denied Monday were part of a broader GOP challenge to the presidential election results in battleground states, which was almost entirely unsuccessful and resulted in more than 60 court losses. Republicans had launched their post-election lawsuits with an eye toward the Supreme Court, believing the court’s 6-3 conservative tilt would likely rule in their favor—but the court roundly rejected the legal challenges post-election, including high-profile cases like Texas’ attempt to invalidate other states’ election results. The Pennsylvania mail-in voting case, which was brought before the election but was drawn out past Nov. 3, had been particularly closely watched due to its potential impact on future elections. The lawsuit centered on the practice of state officials and courts setting voting rules instead of state legislatures—a common complaint from the GOP in its election lawsuits—and could have affected that practice going forward. Despite the court losses and a lack of credible evidence proving election fraud, former President Donald Trump, Powell and others on the right have continued to push claims that the election was “stolen” and fraudulent.
What To Watch For
The Supreme Court is still considering a few other post-election cases, including Powell’s other “Kracken” cases, though none are likely to succeed. Among those being considered are a separate Trump campaign challenge in Wisconsin, which the ex-president’s lawyers argued in a February briefing should still move forward—in part because Trump’s potential 2024 ambitions means its questions about Wisconsin’s election procedures could make the case relevant again. Powell may also face consequences for her Michigan lawsuit, as attorneys on the other side of the case have asked a lower court to sanction her and her co-counsel for bringing their “frivolous” claims. “It’s time for the attorneys who filed these baseless lawsuits to be held accountable for their actions,” city of Detroit attorney David Fink said Monday following the Supreme Court’s orders.